Open letter to the guy watching me play catch with a friend

Sir,

Sir? May I help you? Do I know you? Oh, oh, you weren’t really looking at me, you were just staring at our game? I understand, it is fascinating to see how two formerly athletic guys still can throw and catch a ball, isn’t it?

The two schools.

I’m not sure how long you may have been observing us, mister, you may have missed my dive. Or, not as much a dive after the ball as it was just me crouching. Something happened to my knee so I sort of fell down, but I never dropped the ball. And if you did see that, sir, you should know that it was our 34th consecutive catch.

Now, you may look at us, and see two stocky fellows, neither one looking not a day older than 37, standing around in an empty playground. You may think it looks suspicious, we are, after all, grown men, with beards and everything. Maybe that’s why you stopped and turned around to see what was going on, instead of just taking the garbage to the container.

You’d be excused for failing to see us as a pair of skilled athletes, as well. See, we’re catchists, and playing catch is the oldest sport in the world. Well, right after running and javelin throw. People have been playing catch since the beginning of time – but after running and javelin – and we’re just guardians of this ancient sport.

We play the game using the historic, pre-modern Olympic, rules where you have to throw the ball pretty much as hard as you can. You may have noticed that I was wearing a traditional Finnish catching glove, while my teammate had a North American styled glove. He’s had it since he was 4, that’s why it’s a little tight.

We also aren’t allowed to move. You’re allowed to take one step, with the other foot staying in place. Next time, go back to the playground after we’ve left, and you’ll see the big dirt circles where we’ve stood and stomped around.

We’ve only played a half a season together, so our game is still not perfect. When we started last summer, our record was 43. Which isn’t bad, but wouldn’t have qualified us to a semifinal in a major tournament, even. Today, we scored 46 when you were watching us, and a whopping 107 later on, and that was on a grass court, which, as you may know, is the official Olympic surface.

We hope.

If we can’t get Catch to Summer Olympics, we may try to convert it into a winter sport, standing on ice, but we’re hopeful that a sport that was taken out of the Olympic program as recently as 1892 can still find new fans in the 21st century.

Next time, when you see us and stop to watch, just go back into your house, get your glove, and join us. The official disciplines are solo catch (against a wall), doubles (what you saw us do today), and a triangle.

Catch you later,
R

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